Coinbase Hires Former Fannie Mae Exec as New Chief Legal Officer

September 20, 2018
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Former Fannie Mae counsel Brian Brooks has joined Coinbase as its new Chief Legal Officer to lead the exchange’s legal, compliance and government affairs.

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has hired on former Fannie Mae General Counsel Brian Brooks as their new Chief Legal Officer, according to an announcement published September 19. At Coinbase, Brooks will be responsible for legal, compliance, and government affairs.

Prior to Coinbase, Brooks served as Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of the U.S. Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA), commonly known as Fannie Mae. The association purchases qualifying mortgages from lenders, which it then bundles in bonds and sells to investors. In 2017, Fannie Mae reportedly provided $570 billion in mortgage financing.

Brooks also participated in managing OneWest Bank, N.A.’s senior regulatory relationships, while acting as a senior advisor to the bank’s CEO. Before joining OneWest, Brooks held managerial positions at O’Melveny & Myers LLP and Financial Services Practice Group.

Mike Lempres, who has previously led Coinbase’s legal function, will now lead the company’s government affairs program, such as the exchange’s participation in the recently founded Blockchain Association, in addition to managing the Coinbase political action committee (PAC).

The Washington-based Blockchain Association was formed by a group of American blockchain and crypto companies earlier this month, with Coinbase as a founding member. The association claims to be the first lobbying group representing the blockchain industry in Washington D.C.

Coinbase founded its own PAC in July 2018. In the U.S., PACs are political organizations that allow individuals with similar policy goals and ideologies to pool campaign contributions and donate them to political campaigns for or against candidates, legislation, or ballot initiatives.

This week is marked with another notable appointment at Coinbase, as former LinkedIn executive Michael Li joined the exchange as the vice-president of data. Speaking about his new position, Li outlined that data is an “essential” aspect of empowering Coinbase’s mission, as well as the “core strategy” to providing “the most trusted and easiest-to-use” crypto services.

In August, Coinbase hired former Amazon Web Services and Microsoft employee Tim Wagner as vice-president of engineering. Wagner will reportedly lead Coinbase’s engineering team, which is “central to [Coinbase’s] mission of creating an open financial system for the world.”

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